Pierson’s Hannah Jungck (left) and Elena Skerys led the pack at the start of Tuesday’s cross country race against Southold at Mashashimuet Park. The Lady Whalers won the meet, 20-38. Photo by Michael Heller.
By Gavin Menu
The Pierson-Bridgehampton girls cross county team is in the midst of its best season in five years and will be in the mix for a Suffolk County Class D title at the Suffolk County (Section XI) Championship Meet at Sunken Meadow State Park on Friday, November 1.
The Lady Whalers finished the regular season with a 4-2 record in League VIII after a 20-38 win over visiting Southold on Tuesday at Mashashimuet Park. Pierson finished behind only McGann-Mercy, a Class C school, and Stony Brook, the top Class D school at the moment, which defeated Pierson by just one point to open the season on September 10.
“It definitely won’t be easy or expected,” head coach Jim Kinnier said about his team’s quest for a county title. “We have improved, but Stony Brook has to. We have a legitimate shot but it’s not going to be easy.”
For Pierson to win the county title, just a single runner needs to finish higher against Stony Brook than they did in the dual meet earlier this year. Cross country scoring is determined by adding the place finishes of each runner, meaning that a fourth place finish instead of a sixth place in relation to Stony Brook earlier this year, would have tilted the tide to the Lady Whalers.
The Lady Whalers have been led all season by Elena Skerys, who tied for second with her teammate Hannah Jungck in Tuesday’s race with a time of 23:28 on Mashashimuet’s three-mile course. Southold’s Katie Connolly won the race in 22:52.
Skerys is the only senior on the Pierson team this season and, according to Kinnier, has helped lay the foundation for a solid program going forward.
“The future is bright for a couple reasons,” Kinnier said. “We only lose one runner next year and coach Dan White has taken over the middle school program and has done a great job in his first year of recruiting seventh and eighth graders to the sport. So the feeder program is at its best in a long time.”
In addition to Skerys and junior Maya Buckner, four sophomores have stood out this year including Jungck, Arlena Burns, Paola Zeas and Rose O’Donoghue.
Boys Fall to Southold
Racing alongside their female counterparts, the Whalers boys cross country fell to Southold, 19-40, on Tuesday to post a 2-4 record during the regular season. Tiger Britt was the top Pierson finisher and is expected to perform well in the upcoming county meet at Sunken Meadow on November 1, where all runners, both boys and girls, will have a chance to advance to the New York State Championship meet in Queensbury on Saturday, November 9.